Statement by German De­vel­op­ment Minister Gerd Müller at the UN Climate Summit

Multilateral and Multi-Stakeholder Action Announcements, Finance Session, 23 September 2014, New York

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Statement by Minister Gerd Müller at the UN Climate Summit 2014 (Audio file format)

Mr Secretary-General,
World Bank President Kim,

Global climate action is the common responsibility of all nations. If we want to limit global warming to 2 degrees, we need to act swiftly and decisively.

Millions of people are at risk of being driven from their homes because climate change may make their region unfit for human habitation.

The effects of climate change are felt most strongly by people in developing countries. They are the ones who are hardest hit by events such as flood disasters, droughts and water shortages. For small island states in the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, it is quite literally a question of survival.

Of course, Germany would also be affected. Rising sea levels would threaten our coasts. A downturn in the global economy would have dramatic effects on a country that is built on trade. That is why we need global awareness of climate change.

We're all in the same boat. Climate action is a vital issue for the survival of the whole of humankind.

Germany is leading the way with ambitious targets.

  • By 2020, we want to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels.
  • By 2022, we will have phased out nuclear power.
  • And by 2025, we will have increased the share of renewable energy to at least 40 per cent.

But we can only limit global warming to below two degrees if developing and emerging economies do their part, too. We will give them massive support.

In Copenhagen in 2009, the industrialised countries made a commitment to mobilise, from 2020, an annual 100 billion US dollars.

Germany stands by this commitment. We are already the world's second largest donor of climate finance. Over the last decade, we have quadrupled official funding – to a level of about 1.8 billion euros.

I will work to ensure that Germany's contributions continue to grow between now and 2020, so that we shoulder our share of the responsibility. We must take a leading role in international climate finance.

We are also making sure that our funds are used specifically for initiatives with a lot of potential for mitigation. We need to decouple economic growth from increases in emissions. Let me give you two examples.

  • We will no longer provide any funds for new coal-fired power stations under our climate and development cooperation. And we will only provide limited funding for modernising existing  coal-fired power plants. We will establish clear criteria for this funding.
  • Worldwide, just like at home, we are aiming for a new energy era. We are investing 300 million euros a year to make German technology and expertise available to developing countries. This way we can help promote the use of renewable energies – such as wind and solar power – and energy efficiency.

Climate protection must also involve forest protection. As much as 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation and forest degradation. That is why Germany is providing half a billion euros each year for the protection of forests and other ecosystems worldwide. And Germany is one of the largest donors as regards funding for REDD+ activities (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). In all this, our focus is on the group of roughly 1.6 billion people whose livelihoods depend on these forests.

Germany is convinced that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the central instrument for future climate financing. I am confident that the first funding round for the GCF will be completed successfully by the end of November.

In July, Germany was the first donor to announce a substantial contribution. We are willing to provide up to 750 million euros (that is about one billion US dollars) to the Green Climate Fund. We are doing this in the expectation that other industrialised countries, too, will shoulder their fair share. At today's summit, further pledges have already been made. I greatly welcome that. It is important that emerging economies, too, make a significant contribution.

Each country needs to contribute to global climate action according to its means. Then we will manage to conclude a new climate agreement in Paris in late 2015!

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